Easter JoySchool

I decided I was up to hosting joy school around 5 or 6 weeks postpartum. Looking back, I really can't believe how quickly I jumped into things. That was probably not my smartest idea. But these girls were such a treat to have around and we had so much fun coloring eggs on the patio. We focused on the Savior as we read some books and did a few activities and then went out for some egg hunting and coloring. We had Taylor join us that day as her Mom ran some errands and the girls loved having her. We love Easter at hour house!

March in a Nutshell

And just like that, our Moms were gone and we were on our own! James was back, busy at work adjusting to some more responsibilities and I was adjusting to mine. We had our 1 month visit at the doctor. I don't think I can reiterate enough how much I love our doctor, Dr. Ohlmstead. It seems I don't have photos of his first doctor visit. But I remember it vividly. My Mom was still in town and she an James were taking Annie to swimming after his appointment. Doctor Ohlmstead sat me down and said "here is how you are going to do this with two." She knew my husband is not home for bedtime and gave me my daily routine. I started right away, right at 2 weeks. She told me not to start anything now that I wouldn't keep up forever. So at 2 weeks we started putting him to bed at 7 pm. Lights out. Of course he wouldn't sleep the whole night through but we started the process and routine. Once I could get Jimmy in the Puj, things really got rolling. As Dr. Ohlmstead told me I bathed him while Annie bathed. Let her play in the tub while I put him in his diaper and clothes, nursed him, swaddled him up an put him right in his crib. It was amazing. The first night he cried for maybe a 1-2 minutes. And went straight to sleep. And from then on, I have never had to sleep train Jimmy. It is quite amazing how my entire perspective on this has changed. I thought it was actually good mothering to let Annie snuggle us until all hours of the night. To rock her to sleep. etc. But in reality, it was for my own enjoyment and ended in a lot of sleepless nights for us both, a lot of crying it out and a lot of frustration. After reading some of Baby Wise and several other books I had taken the principle and ran with it. I was amazed to learn that babies just like to sleep, we just need to cultivate it from the start. It worked wonders for us this time and has left us with the sweetest, most content baby. Sure, it hasn't been perfect and we've had lots of sleepless nights. But I haven't fought it like I did with Annie. it's amazing to see that transition. 

There were a few nights where I would let Jimmy join us for story time. And this started to happen. It was so sweet and something I cherished while it lasted.

Once things started to warm up we loved utilizing the location of our house to walk to get Brixx pizza or King of Pops with the babies. We especially loved watching Annie's amazement at the dandelions.

Ann planted some beautiful flowers for us in our little boat and cleaned up our patio (I am HORRIBLE at this). We loved spending time on the back patio this spring.

Full hands, full heart.

After showing my doc some photos of some of Jimmy's spit up episodes we decided to put him on some reflux meds for a few weeks. It seemed to help.

Annie continued to love swimming lessons.

James turned the big 2-9 and after 18 months of being dragged into the briefcase store to check out this one briefcase, I finally convinced him to let me get it for him! It was a joint gift from our parents and me. To say he is obsessed with this briefcase would be an understatement. Anyone who knows James knows he takes exceptional care of his things. He plans to have this thing for 20 years, he says. And he would often come home and ask me what I thought of it. I would repeat my answer and have a good chuckle. This was his baby and I was so happy we could celebrate him this way. I tried to make 29 floating balloons above our bed. It was quite a feat with a 1 month old baby and when we woke up the next morning all the balloons had deflated. As had my ego. We then tried to redeem ourselves to take balloons to his office with lunch, but Annie let them go as we were getting out of the car. Needless to say, I shed a few tears over failing but in hindsight have a few laughs. 

I convinced our new friends, The Gross family, to come the Rosedale Plantation Easter Egg Hunt. It was the second year we had gone. We had an interesting experience as we weren't sure where to go and apparently missed the hunt, when we let the kids pick up a few eggs we were scolded. Needless to say, the kids didn't leave with very many eggs but we had a good time anyway. And always love seeing this beautiful plantation.

These are some of my all time favorite photos of Annie. I miss those little gold shoes that no longer fit her. She was in such a wild stage with a new brother but so beautiful. She went through a rough transition that first month. She regularly asked to be a baby herself, asked if she could wear diapers and reverted back to some of her tantrums. This time around I knew a little bit more about handling them and we made it through with a lot less tantrums on both of our parts. 

Perhaps the very worst part of March was saying goodbye to our dear Donnarae and the Phillips family. This picture still makes me tear up. I was so so so sad to have them go. They were a founding family for us here in Charlotte. Jon and Donnarae shaped so much of my parenting style as I watched them parent and looked up to them so much in that realm. She was also just a dear, dear, fun friend that went through a lot of hard days with me. She took care of Annie while I was at the hospital with Jimmy and was just there for every bit of our lives. We miss them dearly!

James played in a basketball league and I just had to post this pic for documentation sake. The shirts were absolutely horrible. And we laughed about it all season.

And on the last day of March James' twin-in-law got engaged to Ryan! We were so over the moon and could hardly believe it! A great end to the month!

Nana Barker Meets Jimmy

After my Mom left we had a weekend at home just our little family of 4 before Ann arrived. We snuggled in a lot and cherished our new Jimmy.

I ran to the store to do some shopping for family photos. It was a complete nightmare. I quickly remembered how horrific the whole post baby bod experience could be. Thankfully my amazing friend Lindsay was taking our photos. She was good enough to work through outfit options with me.

We kept noticing a special light in Jimmy's eyes and felt like it was from his sweet angels. 

Ann arrived at the perfect time! Jimmy lost his umbilical chord and we were able to give him his perfect bath. Like everything else he completely loved it. 

We also quickly learned that Jimmy LOVED to be swaddled. I found that the Halo sack gave me the best peace of mind. 

We decided to take a little adventure to Lazy 5 Ranch. It was a 45 minute date so it felt like quite the feat with a new baby. The drive through zoo is always a hit and I think Annie was thrilled to have some fun with Nana. We kept laughing so hard at how crazy this was and how the boys would be so nervous about this. 

We had our family pictures taken right around 3 weeks postpartum. I'll admit I was so nervous how my body would appear and worried a lot about that. Jimmy was so perfect during the entire shoot and our dear Lindsay Hart did an incredible job with the photos. (More to come)

I am waiting on a few more pictures with Ann that I will post later. But I just wanted to share a sweet thought about our time with her post-baby. I've never met a more hard working person than Ann. She is a busy body and served us the entire time she was here. She planted flowers, cooked her famous tortilla soup, did laundry and played with Annie. This time with both of our mothers is something so sacred that I will always cherish.

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